Grand PianoMy Musical Indulgence

We’ve always had a electronic keyboard in our house. It was for me really, it’s in a quiet part of the house where I can go and indulge. I can play and sing to my heart’s content and not bother anyone else.

By everyone else I mean my wife and our the children. They will normally go and watch a movie together and they’ve gotten used to me leaving the family group and doing my own thing.

I even like doing the tidying up in the kitchen because I can put on a CD and listen and sing to whatever I fancy. I find it very uplifting and it puts me in good spirits.

Teaching my Kids to Play

We both made a conscious decision that all children would be taught to play piano. Not from me, although I would help and encourage them, but from a proper piano teacher.

It’s that formal teaching that counts. Taking away from the house in another environment that focuses the mind on the task in hand – which is learning to play the piano.

Why did a do this? We’re we trying to create the next great concert pianist? No, what we wanted to do was to stretch their minds. I believe and my wife agrees, that young minds are very malleable. When you learn a musical instrument, at a very young age, you’re flexing your mind and making it more adaptable, opening up different neuron pathways in the brain.

It’s also a great thing to be able to create music and we hope that our children will get the music bug and that it lives within them for ever.

playing an electric keyboard  electronic keyboard  88 key keyboard

Time to get an 88 key digital piano

After lessons, the children are given something to practice, at home, until the following lesson. Straight away I realized that my keyboard wasn’t up it. The children were being taught on a real piano and my keyboard has a small keyboard. Good, but not the real deal.

That’s when I decided to upgrade. We couldn’t afford a real piano but I wanted something that had a full keyboard and correctly weighted keys, like the ones here

So that’s what we did, we very quickly bought an 88 key keyboard for my eldest daughter and it paid off. Her piano playing skills have come on leaps and bounds.

And as a bonus, my playing has improved as well.

Learn to play piano online

Reasons to learn to play as an adult

It’s never to late to learn

Around the Bonfire

Camping a cheap but great vacation

With money a bit tight this year, exotic holidays were out. In fact even non exotic holidays were out. A family of six growing individuals makes a huge debt in our joint bank account so we had to come up with something more modest this year.

So no overseas trips, no Disney, no Vegas, no Niagara falls, etc. But we still wanted a vacation. If you’ve worked all year but can’t take a vacation, you might as well be working for nothing. And we all needed a two week break, somewhere. And it had to be cheap.

Taking sound advice

Asking around, a colleague at the office takes his family camping. That’s always been their vacation. They change destinations each year and most importantly – it’s cheap. Besides he goes fishing some weekends and camps over for the weekend close to where he fishes.

Important for me, who hadn’t been camping since I was a teenager. He was going to advise what I needed and what I needed to do. All his valuable experience was brought to bear in our planning stage.

Camping Tent

We needed a tent

First thing was the tent, 8 person tent like the ones featured here best 8 person tent. Why an 8 man tent when there’s only six of us? Well as Bob explained, you need more space than the size of your party. Because people carry all sorts of additional things and you want these inside, not outside the tent. It made sense.

Then myself and Bob and my two eldest boys practised putting out up in the garden. It was a complete mess at first and had Bob not been around I would have given up. But with his encouragement and the two boys really helping out, we mastered it. Equally important and quite critical is to take the tent down again and pack it away properly. We achieved official “8 Person Tent” expert status.

The vacation was perfect and went without a hitch and we all spent quality time with one and other. Camping so something I highly recommend.

further reading – How to erect a Tent

further reading – How to take down a Tent

Petrol-Chemical Age

We live in the petrol-chemical generation. Like it or not we have seen plastics and fossil fuels dominate our environments and not always for the good. Car fumes and plane pollutants fill the air we breathe and fill the skies with an oil film haze.

But it is what it is and things are looking good for the future when the age of the electric driverless car arrives. And I, for one, can’t wait. For starters, the air will be cleaner, a lot cleaner. An electric motor is simpler than a petrol or diesel combustion engine and there’s no gear box (unless you really want one) so maintenance costs should drop to non-existent. They’ll be safer too, not immediately but they will get there quite rapidly and remove human error at a stroke, which is the major cause of accidents.

Plastics Today

Plastics are amazing, if I go back to my grandparents time, there were none. They had stockings and Bakelite and that was it. Their materials were mainly natural products such as wood ceramics and metals. But the age of plastics began slowly and today, things that were inconceivable, are now made from these new materials. And we, as a race, haven’t stopped yet, more and more plastics with different qualities will come, I’m sure.

Blog, Takeoff

This is my blog and I like to write about things that interest me and that I want to share with the world. I’ll write about the things that I feel are interesting to others and whatever takes my fancy.

This has been my first blog post and I’ll be adding many more and I’ll be adding many more as my mood takes me. I’ll try and make it relevant and not just rant to get things off my chest. Hopefully you’ll find it useful and keep popping back from time to time.